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The advice the government won’t listen to

In dealing with the coronavirus, Scotty From Marketing has all of a sudden decided that, not only must we do what the medical experts’ advise, we must also concentrate our scientific resources on combating the cause rather than just reacting to the crisis.

Yet this same logic does not seem to apply to the existential threat posed by global heating.

In order to avoid taking any action on reducing emissions, the government is busily calling for more inquiries to ignore and more glossy brochures to hold up.

They try to deflect the urgent need for action by ridiculous calls to quantify the cost and its affect on power prices and jobs in three decades time, all the while refusing to acknowledge the cost and impact of inaction.

And it’s not like they don’t know.

In 2015, the government published a National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy.  It identified the major risks for Australia:

  • increased frequency and intensity of flood damage to housing, roads and other infrastructure
  • increased illness, death and infrastructure damages during heat waves
  • constraints on water resources in southern Australia
  • significant reduction in agricultural production in the Murray-Darling Basin and far south-eastern and south-western Australia if scenarios of severe drying are realised
  • increasing risks to coastal infrastructure and low-lying ecosystems from continued sea-level rise
  • increased damages to ecosystems and human settlements, infrastructure, economic losses and risks to human life from bushfires in most of southern Australia
  • significant change in the ecological community composition and structure of coral reef systems
  • loss of mountain ecosystems and some native species.

Then in 2018, the government commissioned the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework which further confirmed the huge costs of failure to act.  The following is an excerpt from that report.

Reducing disaster risk is critical to supporting communities and economies to be resilient when a shock occurs. Recognising this, in early 2018 the Australian Government invited all states and territories, local government, and key private sector representatives to work together to co-design and develop a National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.

Many natural hazards are becoming more frequent and more intense, driven by Australia’s changing climate. The Bureau of Meteorology/CSIRO’s 2018 State of the Climate report describes the effect of Australia’s changing climate, including warming temperatures, rising sea level, more severe fire weather, and increased rainfall in Australia’s north and decreases in the south. It is predicted that these changes will continue, while new natural hazard threats will emerge. There is growing potential for cumulative or concurrent, large-scale natural hazards to occur.

In 2017 Deloitte Access Economics, reporting to the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities, found that over the past 10 years disasters have cost the Australian economy around $18 billion per year. Assuming current development patterns and population growth continue, this is forecast to reach $39 billion per year by 2050. This forecast does not account for the effects of a changing climate, which are expected to magnify these costs; nor does it account for losses that cannot be quantified but are no less important to people. Deloitte Access Economics found in 2015 that the intangible costs of disasters – including increased family violence, mental health impacts, chronic disease, alcohol and drug use, short and long-term unemployment, changes to school academic outcomes, and crime – are at least equal to, if not greater than, tangible costs.

There is significant momentum building across sectors to address climate and disaster risks. The release of the 2017 Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosure report increased market understanding of climate risk and demand for services to help identify and manage that risk. The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and Australian Securities and Investment Commission have stated that climate-related physical and economic transition risks are foreseeable and material financial risks that should be addressed by company directors alongside all other financial risks.

Mainstream investors are divesting from stock in exposed industries, credit rating companies are reassessing credit ratings to factor in climate-related risks and several banks have commissioned analysis of their mortgage books based on location. The Investor Group on Climate Change, in its 2018 Investing in Resilience report, predicts that the ability to differentiate investment opportunities by climate risks will be a key financial metric within the next 3-5 years. These developments provide additional reasons to take action to reduce disaster risk and position Australia for the future.

If they read their own reports, the government already knows the risks we face and how best to address them.  What is the point in more inquiries, more “road maps”, more glossy brochures, if they continue to ignore the science for their own political purposes?

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15 comments

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  1. Harry Lime

    The Canberra bubble that Scotty from marketing inhabits must be low on oxygen as it appears to have destroyed his ability to think,could it be carbon monoxide poisoning? Whatever, it’s as impenetrable as his repulsive skull.

  2. Ken

    With SSFM (ScottySackedFrom Marketing) the PM we cannot expect much clear thinking on Global Heating.

  3. Kaye Lee

    I just want someone to ask Scotty and Gus and Josh to quantify how many jobs there will be in the coal industry in 2050. And what power prices will be in 2050 if we persist with coal generation. And what effect continuing to burn fossil fuels will have on insurance prices.

    The only report I have ever heard them quote is the rubbish produced by fossil fuel industry consultant Brian Fisher which has been absolutely panned by experts.

    https://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/episodes/solar/10846360

  4. Deidre Zanker

    Scotty from marketing has a family to protect from Covid-19.
    He believes his god will “rapture” his family and him to somewhere else, while we all suffer and die here, therefore climate change isn’t relevent to him.

  5. Barry Thompson.

    My understanding Kaye is that coal industry jobs only account for 3% of the Australian workforce.
    If that is correct, why all the fuss?
    When job losses in automobile, retail, hospitality and the public sector occur [ the latter as a result of the government’s own actions] they do not seem to care as much.

  6. Kaye Lee

    Barry,

    The Labour Account, which publishes industry information drawn from employers, shows that in the financial year 2017-18, there were around 38,100 people employed in coal mining overall. That includes those mining metallurgical coal – those employed in thermal coal mining would be much less.

    http://stat.data.abs.gov.au/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=ABS_LABOUR_ACCT#

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-11/fact-check-are-there-54000-jobs-in-thermal-coal-mining/11198150

  7. Zathras

    Some stats I’ve seen previously –

    Across Australia, coal mining accounts for half of one percent of all jobs (0.5%), that’s half a job out of every hundred.

    In Queensland, coal mining is just 1.1% of all Queensland jobs. Coal mining comes in far behind far bigger employers like health, education, retail, agriculture, public administration, construction, as well as accommodation and food services, which is heavily linked to tourism, and manufacturing.
    There are around 40,000 jobs in tourism in reef regions on the North Queensland coast — twice as many as in coal mining, according to ABS data. Other estimates put the number higher at 59,000.

    Number of jobs in Australia –
    Coles 112,000
    Woolworths 100,000
    McDonalds 90,000
    KFC 34,000
    Thermal coal industry 29,000 (I don’t know if that includes administrative and other associated staff)

    So more people work at KFC than in the thermal coal industry.

    Statistics vary depending on interpretation but overall, thermal coal mining is not the employment savior is pretends to be.

    Despite the writing on the wall for the thermal coal industry, the Queensland and Federal governments have committed to $4.4 billion in subsidies, royalty holidays and tax breaks for the Adani coal mine.

  8. Kaye Lee

    As of the end of January, Adani haven’t actually come to a royalties agreement yet. Nor do they have approval to operate their railway yet. Both waaaaay past the stated target dates.

    http://statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/resources/guideline/cg/adani-outstanding-approvals-milestones-reached-31-01-2020.pdf

    That’s not to say royalty holidays and subsidies won’t happen – they have certainly been mentioned.

    https://www.mackayconservationgroup.org.au/adani_s_700_million_royalty_holiday

  9. Max Gross

    Adani have previously said they intend the mine to be fully automated. NO JOBS.

  10. Kerri

    Scotty from marketing is not about “doing”. He is a marketing man and all about being seen to be “doing”.
    The endless stream of royal commissions, inquiries and committees, special envoys and reports that never see the light of day exist not to keep the quiet Australians happy, but to keep happy Australians quiet.

  11. wam

    go kaye
    greenhouse gases greenhouse effect global warming is easy to show man’s interference in nature.
    arctic ice not forming, permafrost thaws greenland glacial melts and antarctica with a temp of 18.3
    https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/images/146322/antarctica-melts-under-its-hottest-days-on-record
    Even the most religious simpleton could see a connection.and realise it is time for renewables and electric transport.
    ps kaye why does’t albo say whatever it costs it will be cheaper than smirko’s?

  12. Josephus

    Greenwashing is the new mode. Why, even my megarich goldminer cousin is forsaking gold mining as yesterday’s magic pudding and investing instead in rare metals, as in wind turbines. Lithium is the new gold.

  13. guest

    Kaye,

    Chris Kenny has been attacking Waleed Ali about his appearance on Ch 10’s The Project for what Ali said about German coal. Basically Kenny is saying that while Germany has closed black coal mines in Germany, it is buying in black coal from neighboring countries. Such a move sounds like a strange strategy, but the intent of divesting from coal is obvious and a horror story for the likes of Kenny.

    Kenny is livid with anger and is attacking not only Ali, but also “journalists who accept climate activist slogans as fact, fail to interrogate claims made by left-of-centre politicians and demonstrate unfailing incuriosity about scientific complexities and the estimated costs and benefits of emissions reduction policies.” (The Australian, 24/2/2020)

    What a laugh!

    He goes on to say: “As I have demonstrated time and again, they have deliberately promulgated falsehoods related to this season’s deadly bushfires in order to pretend that something new is afoot and feed into a politically charged climate debate. Readily available historical facts are ignored in favour of false and misleading claims and emotive assessments.”

    “Readlily available historical facts” are exactly what Kenny ignores in order to blame arsonists and lack of hazard reduction. He says the fires are not unprecedented.

    Kevin Tolhurst, Hon. Assoc. Prof., Uni of Melbourne, wrote in The Conversation (20/2/2020) an article about the complexity of hazard reduction burning. As have ex-fire chiefs.

    Commenting on this article are many people who clearly have a better understanding of the issues: narrow window of opportunity to burn, need for less clearing, more attention to looking after the soil, the part played by various animals which are central to ecology of forests, the need for emissions reduction, etc.

    A very interesting read which makes Kenny’s lamentations sound ideologically weak, whining and ignorant.

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